I got a lift to the Northam Tourist Bureau. I prefer to start there as it is prettier - it is on the Avon River, the tourist bureau is handy (get your maps) and there is a cafe with toilets. It is also close to the centre of town. The Poole St starting point is only 1.8 km away, but it is a bit bland with just a picnic table and carpark. I started at 9.45 am, and walked across the suspension bridge (the longest in Australia). I was at the official start point soon after, just as the drizzle started (you can see it in the first photos of the pipeline). However it wasn't too heavy. The climb up to the West Northam tanks wasn't too bad as I wasn't carrying a load. The first hill is the worst, but it is only 400m before it flattens out a bit, but still keeps climbing.
I was at Fox Rd just after 10.30 am, which is over all the initial hill - it will be now more undulating or more gentle. It is a nice trail next to the pipeline. The ride on the Eadine Road was a bit boring, as it is a sealed but quiet country road. I found a cool 120 year old bridge along the route that is worth a look (see my route sheet notes for the exact location).
I got to Clackline about 11.30am. There was a lot to see - the school monument, Platypus Pool, the rail bridge, and the old station. Being the end of water, the pool was flowing nicely. I also had a quick walk around the old loco dam and the foundations of the original Goldfields Pipeline before getting on the trail again.
After Clackline, it all changes - the trail becomes old rail trail, so is much flatter and more solid base. The track pass through towns more frequently, meaning toilets, drinks, snacks, picnic tables and phone coverage!
I had my first decent break at the Bakers Hill pie shop at noon- it is less than 100m off the Track. I stopped only for 10 minutes to eat. My next stop was Wooralloo for an iced coffee at the little general store at 1.15 pm - it is a pretty little shop and right on the trail again. I crossed Old Northam road at 1.45 pm.
The next section has some big cuttings through small hills as well as some other rail related pits that are all quite old.
My next stop was Chidlow at 2.15 pm to eat a cake I had purchased at Bakers Hill. I used the toilets and took a few photos. The place was actually quite busy as a Cycle Sportive event was winding up.
I was at the junction with the Railway Heritage Trail at 2.45 pm. I could carry straight on and get to Midland via John Forrest National Park, but I followed the trail towards Mundaring.
The trail down to join the Railway Heritage trail was again pretty easy. It was a damp public holiday, so I only saw one cyclist on the trail (except on the close-to-Perth Railway Heritage Trail loop - see my other maps for details). I saw a horse rider, 2 motorcyclists on the Track (but plenty of damage they have caused especially between Chidlow and Clackline), and plenty of dog walkers.
I got to the turn off to Mundaring Weir just after 3.15pm. I was riding home so headed ontowards the Mundaring Sculpture Park, then down the Railway Heritage trail to Midland, which was a pleasant down hill run. I then rode on to Bayswater via back roads or cycle ways next to the train line. I got home at 5 pm exactly. 98 km in total, over 7hrs 15 mins. Sore but happy.
Lift to Northam with 4 riders, all on solo bikes with back up vehicle, so traveling light. Left Bayswater at 7.30am, in Northam Tourist Bureau at 9am. Left at 9.15am. First 8km are uphill on an average track, but then more undulating. After Clackline it was old rail trail so a lot easier. Lunch stop at Wooroloo at 12.15pm after 42km.
4 of us did the ride, and we had a back up vehicle that dropped us to Northam and met us at spots on the way. We left Bayswater at 7.30am as planned and were on the Northam tourist centre at 9.15 am. The first 8 km out of Northam are uphill, on a rougher, looser track. That was after a slow start too (the uphill section, 2 flat tyres and a bit of stuffing about). Then there is 6.5 km on a quiet back road before the we got on the main line.
From then on the ride was very similar to the Railway Heritage trail - a good wide track, reasonable solid without too much loose crap, and it avoids major ups & downs. That meant a reasonably fast pace - One of the guys rode a lot faster that the rest of us, so we were all a little bit in the red zone trying to keep up, but as no-one stopped which I see as a good thing. Our lunch stop at Wooroloo at 12.15pm after 42km. We did the 70km of Kep from Northam, then did another 30km down the Railway Heritage Trail to Bellevue and on to Bayswater in about 7.5 hours total. We did about 80km of dirt and 20km of road back to Bayswater. Home at 4.45pm, 99km in 6.5hr ride time over 7.5hr total. Our average riding time was 16km/hr, but average of around 13km/hr overall. It was perfect weather, good company and great fun.
I have ridden the Kep track in it's entirety on two other occasions (got there once via the train and another via a lift with a back up). However I did not record the details.